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IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 51
STRENGTH CHARACTERISTICS OF SELF-CURING CONCRETE

M.V.Jagannadha Kumar
1
, M. Srikanth
2
, K. Jagannadha Rao
3

1
Assoc Prof in Civil Engineering, NRIIT, Vijayawada (AP), India, mjaganjk@yahoo.com
2
Assoc Prof in Civil Engineering, Kakatiya Institute of Technology and Science, Warangal (AP), India,
msrik@rediffmail.com
3
Professor in Civil Engineering, Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (AP), India,
kjagannadharao@yahoo.com

Abstract
Today concrete is most widely used construction material due to its good compressive strength and durability. Depending upon the
nature of work the cement, fine aggregate, coarse aggregate and water are mixed in specific proportions to produce plain concrete.
Plain concrete needs congenial atmosphere by providing moisture for a minimum period of 28 days for good hydration and to attain
desired strength. Any laxity in curing will badly affect the strength and durability of concrete. Self-curing concrete is one of the
special concretes in mitigating insufficient curing due to human negligence paucity of water in arid areas, inaccessibility of structures
in difficult terrains and in areas where the presence of fluorides in water will badly affect the characteristics of concrete. The present
study involves the use of shrinkage reducing admixture polyethylene glycol (PEG 400) in concrete which helps in self curing and helps
in better hydration and hence strength. In the present study, the affect of admixture (PEG 400) on compressive strength, split tensile
strength and modulus of rupture by varying the percentage of PEG by weight of cement from 0% to 2% were studied both for M20 and
M40 mixes. It was found that PEG 400 could help in self curing by giving strength on par with conventional curing. It was also found
that 1% of PEG 400 by weight of cement was optimum for M20, while 0.5 % was optimum for M40 grade concretes for achieving
maximum strength without compromising workability.

I ndex Terms: Self-curing concrete; Water retention; Relative humidity; Hydration; Absorption; Permeable pores;
Sorptivity; Water permeability
----------------------------------------------------------------------***-----------------------------------------------------------------------
1. INTRODUCTION
Proper curing of concrete structures is important to meet
performance and durability requirements. In conventional
curing this is achieved by external curing applied after mixing,
placing and finishing. Self-curing or internal curing is a
technique that can be used to provide additional moisture in
concrete for more effective hydration of cement and reduced
self-desiccation.

1.1 Methods of self curing
Currently, there are two major methods available for internal
curing of concrete. The first method uses saturated porous
lightweight aggregate (LWA) in order to supply an internal
source of water, which can replace the water consumed by
chemical shrinkage during cement hydration. The second
method uses poly-ethylene glycol (PEG) which reduces the
evaporation of water from the surface of concrete and also
helps in water retention.

1.2 Mechanism of Internal Curing
Continuous evaporation of moisture takes place from an
exposed surface due to the difference in chemical potentials
(free energy) between the vapour and liquid phases. The
polymers added in the mix mainly form hydrogen bonds with
water molecules and reduce the chemical potential of the
molecules which in turn reduces the vapour pressure, thus
reducing the rate of evaporation from the surface.

1.3 Significance of Selfcuring
When the mineral admixtures react completely in a blended
cement system, their demand for curing water (external or
internal) can be much greater than that in a conventional
ordinary Portland cement concrete. When this water is not
readily available, significant autogenous deformation and
(early-age) cracking may result. Due to the chemical shrinkage
occurring during cement hydration, empty pores are created
within the cement paste, leading to a reduction in its internal
relative humidity and also to shrinkage which may cause
early-age cracking.

1.4 Potential Materials for Internal Curing (IC)
The following materials can provide internal water reservoirs:
Lightweight Aggregate (natural and synthetic, expanded
shale)
Super-absorbent Polymers (SAP) (60-300 nm size)
IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 52
SRA (Shrinkage Reducing Admixture) (propylene glycol
type i.e. polyethylene-glycol)

1.5 Advantages of Internal Curing
Internal curing (IC) is a method to provide the water to
hydrate all the cement, accomplishing what the mixing
water alone cannot do.
Provides water to keep the relative humidity (RH) high,
keeping self-desiccation from occurring.
Eliminates largely autogenous shrinkage.
Maintains the strengths of mortar/concrete at the early age
(12 to 72 hrs.) above the level where internally &
externally induced strains can cause cracking.
Can make up for some of the deficiencies of external
curing, both human related (critical period when curing
is required in the first 12 to 72 hours) and hydration.

1.6 Polyethylene Glycol
Polyethylene glycol is a condensation polymer of ethylene
oxide and water with the general formula H(OCH
2
CH
2
)
n
OH,
where n is the average number of repeating oxyethylene
groups typically from 4 to about 180. The abbreviation (PEG)
is termed in combination with a numeric suffix which
indicates the average molecular weights. One common feature
of PEG appears to be the water-soluble nature. Polyethylene
glycol is non-toxic, odorless, neutral, lubricating, non-volatile
and non-irritating and is used in a variety of pharmaceuticals.
The behaviour of Polyethylene glycol is shown in Fig 1.



Fig1. Behaviour of Polyethylene glycol

2. LITERATURE REVIEW
Ole and Hansen describe a new concept for the prevention of
self-desiccation in hardening cement-based materials using
fine, super absorbent polymer (SAP) particles as a concrete
admixture. The SAP will absorb water and form macro
inclusions and this leads to water entrainment, i.e. the
formation of water-filled macro pore inclusions in the fresh
concrete. Consequently, the pore structure is actively designed
to control self-desiccation. In this work, self-desiccation and
water entrainment are described and discussed.

Roland Tak Yong Liang, Robert Keith Sun carried work on
internal curing composition for concrete which includes a
glycol and a wax. The invention provides for the first time an
internal curing composition which, when added to concrete or
other cementitious mixes meets the required standards of
curing as per Australian Standard AS 3799.

Wen-Chen Jau stated that self curing concrete is provided to
absorb water from moisture from air to achieve better
hydration of cement in concrete. It solves the problem when
the degree of cement hydration is lowered due to no curing or
improper curing by using self curing agent like poly-acrylic
acid which has strong capability of absorbing moisture from
atmosphere and providing water required for curing concrete.

A.S. El-Dieb investigated water retention of concrete using
water-soluble polymericglycol as self-curing agent. Concrete
weight loss and internal relative humidity measurements with
time were carried out, in order to evaluate the water retention
of self-curing concrete. Water transport through concrete is
evaluated by measuring absorption%, permeable voids%,
water sorptivity and water permeability. The water transport
through self-curing concrete is evaluated with age.The effect
of the concrete mix proportions on the performance of self-
curing concrete were investigated, such as, cement content and
water/cement ratio.

PietroLura The main aim of his study was to reach a better
comprehension of autogenous shrinkage in order to be able to
model it and possibly reduce it. Once the important role of
self-desiccation shrinkage in autogenous shrinkage is shown,
the benefits of avoiding self-desiccation through internal
curing become apparent.

3. SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE
The scope of the paper is to study the effect of
polyethylene glycol (PEG 400) on strength
characteristics of Self-curing concrete
The objective is study the mechanical characteristics
of concrete such as compressive strength, split tensile
strength and modulus of rupture by varying the
percentage of PEG from 0% to 2% by weight of
cement for both M20 and M40 grades of concrete.

4. EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME
The experimental program was designed to investigate the
strength of self curing concrete by adding poly ethylene glycol
PEG400 @ 0.5%, 1%, 1.5% and 2% by weight of cement to
the concrete. The experimental program was aimed to study
the workability, compressive strength, split tensile strength
and modulus of rupture. To study the above properties mixes
M20 and M40 were considered. The scheme of experimental
program is given in Table No.1


IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 53
Table 1: Details of specimens cast.

SL
.
No
Natur
e
M20 M40
Cu
be*
Cylin
der
#
Pris
m
$
Cu
be
Cylin
der
Pris
m
1 Plain 3 3 3 3 3 3
2 0.5% 3 3 3 3 3 3
3 1% 3 3 3 3 3 3
4 1.5% 3 3 3 3 3 3
5 2% 3 3 3 3 3 3

*The size of each cube is 150 x150 x150 mm.
# The size of each cylinder is 150 mm in dia and 300 mm in
height.
$ The size of each prism is 100 x100 x400 mm

5. MATERIALS USED
The different materials used in this investigation are

5.1 Cement: Cement used in the investigation was 53 grade
ordinary Portland cement confirming IS: 12269: 1987.

5.2 Fine aggregate: The fine aggregate used was obtained
from a near byriver source. The fine aggregate conforming to
zone III according to IS: 383-1970 was used.

5.3 Coarse aggregate: Crushed granite was used as coarse
aggregate. The coarse aggregate according to IS: 383-1970
was used. Maximum coarse aggregate size used is 20 mm.

5.4 Polyethylene Glycol-400: Polyethylene glycol is a
condensation polymer of ethylene oxide and water with the
general formula H(OCH
2
CH
2
)
n
OH, where n is the average
number of repeating oxyethylenegroups typically from 4 to
about 180. The abbreviation (PEG) is termed in combination
with anumeric suffix which indicates the average molecular
weight. One common feature of PEG appears to be the water-
soluble nature. The PEG-400 use in the investigation have
Molecular Weight 400, Appearance Clear liquid, pH 5-7,
Specific Gravity 1.126

5.5 Water: Potable water was used in the experimental work
for both mixing and curing purposes.

6. CASTING PROGRAMME:
Casting of the specimens were done as per IS:10086-1982,
preparation of materials, weighing of materials and casting of
cubes, cylinders, beams. The mixing, compacting and curing
of concrete are done according to IS 516: 1959. The plain
samples of cubes, cylinders and prisms were cured for 28 days
in water pond and the specimens with PEG400 were cured for
28 days at room temperature by placing them in shade. The
M20 and M40 grades of concrete are designed and the
material required per cubic meter of concrete is shown in
Table 2.

Table 2: Materials required per cubic meter of concrete

SL
.
No
Mix
Cement
(kg)
Fine
Aggregate
(kg)
Coarse
Aggregate
(kg)
Water
(kg)
1 M20 340 610 1300 187
2 M40 440 520 1220 154

7. TESTING
7.1 Slump Test & Compaction Factor.
Slump test is the most commonly used method of measuring
consistency of concrete which can be employed either in
laboratory or at site of work. It does not measure all factors
contributing to workability. However, it is used conveniently
as a control test and gives an indication of the uniformity of
concrete from batch to batch. The compacting factor test is
designed primarily for use in the laboratory but it can also be
used in the field. It is more precise and sensitive than the
slump test and particularly useful for concrete mixes of very
low workability as are normally used when concrete is to be
compacted by vibration. Such dry concretes are insensitive to
slump test.

7.2 Compressive strength:
The cube specimens were tested on compression testing
machine of capacity 3000KN.The bearing surface of machine
was wiped off clean and sand or other material removed from
the surface of the specimen. The specimen was placed in
machine in such a manner that the load was applied to
opposite sides of the cubes as casted that is, not top and
bottom. The axis of the specimen was carefully aligned at the
centre of loading frame. The load applied was increased
continuously at a constant rate until the resistance of the
specimen to the increasing load breaks down and no longer
can be sustained. The maximum load applied on specimen was
recorded.

f
c
= P/A , where, P is load & A is area

7.3 Split tensile strength:
The cylinder specimens were tested on compression testing
machine of capacity 3000KN.The bearing surface of machine
was wiped off clean and looses other sand or other material
removed from the surface of the specimen. The load applied
was increased continuously at a constant rate until the
resistance of the specimen to the increasing load breaks down
and no longer can be sustained. The maximum load applied on
specimen was recorded.

f
split
=2 P/DL, where P=load, D= diameter of cylinder,
IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 54
L=length of the cylinder

7.4 Modulus of rupture:

The beam specimens were tested on universal testing machine
for two-point loading to create a pure bending. The bearing
surface of machine was wiped off clean and sand or other
material is removed from the surface of the specimen. The two
point bending load applied was increased continuously at a
constant rate until the specimen breaks down and no longer
can be sustained. The maximum load applied on specimen was
recorded. The test setup is shown in Fig. 2. The modulus of
rupture depends on where the specimen breaks along the span.
The specimens while testing compressive strength, split tenslie
& Modulus of ruptrure is shown in Fig 3.


Fig 2. Test set-up for modulus of rupture

If the specimen breaks at the middle third of the span then the
modulus of rupture is given by

f
rup.
= (WL)/(bd
2
)

If the specimen breaks at a distance of a from any of the
supports then the modulus of rupture is given by

f
rup.
= (3Wa)/(bd
2
), where W = load at failure,

L = length of specimen (400mm)
b = width of specimen (10mm),
d=depth of specimen (100mm)



Fig 3: Specimens while testing

8. RESULTS & DISCUSSION
8.1 Slump and Compaction factor test:
The results of the Slump & Compaction factor test were
represented in Table 3. The graphical representation of the
Slump & Compaction factor results is shown in Fig 4 and Fig
5 respectively. As the % of PEG400 is increased the slump
and compaction factor is found to increase. But, the rate of
increase of slump & compaction factor for M40 concrete is
less than that of M20 plain concrete.

Table 3: Results of Workability

Sl.
No
PEG
400
Slump
(mm)
Compaction
Factor
M20 M40 M20 M40
1 Plain 80 45 0.88 0.85
2 0.50% 92 65 0.90 0.87
3 1.00% 112 95 0.91 0.90
4 1.50% 140 130 0.93 0.91
5 2.00% 175 160 0.96 0.94

W
L /3 L /3 L /3
a

W
L
/3
L
/3
L
/3
a
IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 55


Fig 4. Variation of Slump



Fig 5. Variation of Compaction Factor

8.2 Compressive Strength:
The results of the compressive strength are represented in
Table 4 and the graphical representation is shown in Fig 6.
The compressive strength was found to increase up to 1%
PEG400 and then decreased for M20 grade. In the case of
M40 compressive strength increased up to 0.5% and then
decreased. The increase in compressive strength was 7.23% at
1% of PEG 400 compared to conventional concrete for M20,
while the increase is 1.24% at 0.5% of PEG400 in case of
M40 grade of concrete.

Sl.
No
PEG
f
c
(N/mm
2
) f
split
(N/mm
2
) f
rup
(N/mm
2
)
M20 M40 M20 M40 M20 M40
1 Plain 26.60 46.65 1.81 2.42 3.50 4.62
2 0.50% 27.61 47.23 1.96 2.50 3.75 4.75
3 1.00% 28.49 45.93 2.02 2.45 3.80 4.64
4 1.50% 26.74 44.62 1.92 2.34 3.68 4.53
5 2.00% 25.03 42.44 1.85 2.25 3.55 4.46
Table 4: Mechanical Properties


Fig 6. Variation of Compressive Strength

8.3 Split Tensile Strength:

The results of the split tensile strength are represented in Table
4 and the graphical representation is shown in Fig 7. The split
tensile strength was found to increase up to 1% PEG400 and
then decreased for M20 grade. In the case of M40 split tensile
strength increased up to 0.5% and then decreased. The
increase in split tensile strength was 11.60% at 1% of PEG400
compared to conventional concrete for M20, while the
increase is 3.30% at 0.5% of PEG400 in case of M40 grade of
concrete.



Fig7. Variation of Split Tensile Strength

8.4 Modulus of rupture:
The results of the modulus of rupture are represented in Table
4 and the graphical representation is shown in Fig 8. The
modulus of rupture was found to increase up to 1% PEG400
and then decreased for M20 grade. In the case of M40
modulus of rupture increased up to 0.5% and then decreased.
The increase in modulus of rupture was 8.57% at 1% of PEG
400 compared to conventional concrete for M20, while the
increase is 2.81% at 0.5% of PEG400 in case of M40 grade of
concrete.
Variation of Slump
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
% of PEG400
S
l u
m
p

(
m
m
)
M20
M40
Variation of Compaction Factor
0.84
0.86
0.88
0.9
0.92
0.94
0.96
0.98
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
% of PEG400
C
o
m
p
a
c
t
i o
n

F
a
c
t
o
r
M20
M40
Variation of Compressive Strength
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
% of PEG400
C
o
m
p
r
e
s
s
i
v
e

S
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
(
M
P
a
)
M20
M40
Variation of Split Tensile Strength
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
% of PEG400
S
p
l i t

T
e
n
s
i l e

S
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
(
M
P
a
)
M20
M40
IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology ISSN: 2319-1163

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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 56


Fig 8. Variation of Modulus of Rupture

CONCLUSIONS
1. The optimum dosage of PEG400 for maximum strengths
(compressive, tensile and modulus of rupture) was found
to be 1% for M20 and 0.5% for M40 grades of concrete.
2. As percentage of PEG400 increased slump increased for
both M20 and M40 grades of concrete.
3. Strength of self curing concrete is on par with
conventional concrete.
4. Self curing concrete is the answer to many problems
faced due to lack of proper curing.

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Variation of Modulus of Rupture
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
% of PEG400
M
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d
u
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f

R
u
p
t
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(
M
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a
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M20
M40
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Volume: 01 Issue: 01 | Sep-2012, Available @ http://www.ijret.org 57
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